The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

Image for post
Image for post
Women protesting for the right to vote.

This year our country celebrates the one-hundred-year anniversary of the right to vote for women, although sadly suffrage was only granted to white women. My great grandmother, born in 1870, Anna Everetta Beighley Harn, was a white woman and Wisconsin suffragist, who marched with other women for the right to vote. She married Stephen Douglas Harn at age 20, and together they had four children while living on their farm. Her life changed overnight when her husband died in a buggy accident coming home one evening. Suddenly at age 34, she was a widow with 13-year-old twin daughters, an 11-year-old girl (my grandmother), and a four-year-old son. She had to coordinate work on the farm that they owned, move to a different home in a bigger town so that her girls could attend a high school, and raise her family alone, yet she was deemed unworthy of the right to vote through it all. She managed successfully to get the children all through secondary school. After each of her daughters were married and her son finished high school, she moved back to the farmhouse. When she received news that her daughter Bessie, one of the twins, had given birth to her first grandchild, she decided to risk the long journey to Chicago to visit them. On this trip, she caught the “Spanish” flu and subsequently died, as did the local doctor who cared for her. Despite her activism in her younger years, her death in 1918 due to the pandemic meant that she missed the right to vote by less than two years. …

Image for post
Image for post

Other questions to consider might be: Do you want to learn that there are no available tests for coronavirus when you realize you are exhibiting symptoms? Do you want your doctor to have to treat you for coronavirus even if she does not have protective gear? I can guess your answers to these questions.

Okay, I admit that I am livid. There are over 33,000 cases of the coronavirus surging in the U.S. as of March 22, 2020. There are dwindling basic medical supplies, as well as not enough test kits. Physicians and other medical personnel lack necessary equipment to keep themselves safe, to test patients, and to treat patients. The president has the ability to call for more aggressive action. He could enact the Defense Production Act for mobilization efforts, but he chooses not to do. Why? Because some companies are voluntarily stepping up to produce? Is this a bit late? The president has said that he wants to keep a free market for pricing. He is putting profit above human life. In the United States, more than 400 people have already died, and there is a lack of crucial gear and protective equipment. Just in the last week, Advocate hospitals in the Chicago area set up drive-thru testing sites, but they have already been suspended, after only a few days, due to a national shortage. …

By Sabzar Ahmad Bhat and Ellen Birkett Lindeen

Image for post
Image for post
Kashmir, once called the most beautiful place on earth, has become the most dangerous place on earth.

In the USA, people hear about the conflicts in Iraq, Yemen, and the plight of Palestinians is starting to get into the news cycle, but rarely do people see news about Kashmir. Sitting on top of India and Pakistan in the Himalayas is one of the worst humanitarian crises on earth. This ongoing disaster began in 1947 with the partition of India into parts. Historically, Kashmir has been described by poets as “Paradise on Earth” because of its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Unfortunately, violence and bloodshed have turned Kashmir’s “Paradise” into a bleeding dystopia due to the unresolved Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan. The horrific has become normalized: killings, custodial disappearances, displacement, violence against women, rapes, fake encounters, and unmarked, unknown, and mass graves from both state and non-state actors. The reality on the ground in Kashmir was described by the European Union delegation some years back. They called Kashmir a “beautiful prison.” Kashmir has been given many other names and attributes in contemporary times. It is called a “nuclear flashpoint,” “the most dangerous place on earth,” and “a troubled paradise.” Also, Kashmir is termed “South Asia’s hot spot” and “the most militarized place on earth.” …

by Ellen Birkett Lindeen

Image for post
Image for post

April 23 is the day the world celebrates what is thought to be Shakespeare’s day of birth, and then 52 years later, definitely his day of death, and also the celebration of St. George, the patron saint of England. I like to remember Will. Not only is he one of the greatest English writers of all time with one of the largest bodies of work, but he also makes sense of life and relationships and ideas. The plays really have something to say to us even in the twenty-first century.

Throughout most of the play Hamlet, the title character Prince Hamlet berates himself for not avenging his father’s death. His father, the Ghost, has told him of his murder, but Hamlet values life and will not jump to revenge. He tries to discern the truth. By Act Four, in the Norwegian subplot, Hamlet learns that Fortinbras, the young leader of the Norwegians, is marching across Denmark to attack a part of Poland that is worth nothing and will not even be large enough to bury the dead who are killed in the battle. …

What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?

By Ellen Lindeen

Depending on their age, people associate peace with protesting the Vietnam War, songs, movies and marches of the 1960’s, the time before 9/11, quiet getaway retreats, or their yoga class. So what does it mean to teach peace and how would one do it? I think the why is obvious.

I have been teaching all my life — first over a decade at the high school level and after that, college students. Most of my courses were about writing, composition, and literature. At a certain point in my career I read the book, The Peaceable Classroom, by Mary Rose O’Reilly, recommended at a conference, and realized that my subconscious, underlying motive had always been to teach so that people stopped killing each other. Not long after that revelation, I discovered the field of Peace Studies. I had never heard of it before the 2000’s. Quickly and with much research, I realized this coursework is by no means a new discipline, having been birthed with the use of the “bomb” in World War II. However, this is field is not well known in the military industrial complex we live in. How many people are aware of the ROTC programs in higher education and not aware of peace courses and degrees? Some colleges have been teaching “peace” since their founding over a hundred years ago, especially the “peace colleges”: Earlham College, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Goshen College, Mennonite; and Manchester University, Church of the Brethren. Yet, early on this discipline was not limited to religious colleges. The University of Michigan began majors in nuclear disarmament shortly after the World War II, and Georgetown University, American University, and George Mason University have offered majors in peace and conflict resolution for decades. …

Ellen Birkett Lindeen

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store